Thank You Rockport, Massachusettes
Rockport High School Band
Pass Christian High School Band in Mississippi
In an effort to keep the music playing, this band-to-band effort reaches out to
those whose school, homes, and instruments were destroyed in the Hurricane.
Posted on Thu, Sep. 22, 2005
Mass. band playing to rebuild Pass band
By TRACY DASH
Pictures showing the devastation Hurricane Katrina in South Mississippi have dominated most news channels across the country, moving many Americans to help victims rebuild their lives.
A story about what Katrina did to Pass Christian moved a Rockport, Mass., band teacher to reach out to the high school band department.
Jim Davison, who runs the band department at Rockport High School, wants to adopt Pass Christian's band department and replace all the equipment destroyed when 30 feet of water flooded the high school's first-floor band hall. Rockport is on the coast northeast of Boston.
"My heart just broke," Davison said. "I was almost breathless."
He and the parent of one of his students saw coverage of the destruction when "Good Morning America" news anchor Robin Roberts, a Pass Christian High School alum, visited the area after the hurricane and filed an emotional report. Davison and Laura Fillmore talked about it and enlisted the help of band students.
"We'll do what we do best - raise money for music," said Fillmore, the mother of four.
Pass Christian High School principal Cathy Broadway was thrilled when she learned what the Rockport school was doing.
"It would mean the world to our students," Broadway said. "It will help the community heal and get kids involved in things that are important to them."
Davison said the plan is to buy new equipment, instruments and uniforms for the 80 band students in the Pass. Rockport student Olivia Hauck raised nearly $1,200 at a concert on Sept. 10.
Although Pass Christian High School has nearly double the number of students as Rockport, the schools have about the same number of band students. The city of Rockport is a small seaside town with families of "modest means," said high school principal Dr. Charles Symonds.
Rockport school officials also invited Pass band students to complete the fall semester in Massachusetts.
Hauck, a 17-year-old senior at Rockport High School, said her mother considered volunteering on the Coast after the hurricane. Hauck, who has played in the jazz band for four years, said that's when she had the idea to hold a concert at her church in nearby Gloucester.
"I figured I know so many people who are really talented musicians," she said.
The musicians performed in a 1 1/2 hour concert that included singing and piano playing.
"We've had a really great response from the community," she said. "We want to help out our fellow musicians."
Rockport's band will perform Oct. 1 at the Gloucester House Restaurant and Oct. 2 at Brackett's Restaurant in Rockport. All the Proceeds will benefit the Pass Christian High School band department.
ROCKPORT HIGH SCHOOL .ADOPTS. HURRICANE-STRUCK BAND
.Pass Music. Program Starts Up
ROCKPORT, MA. . As Rockport High School Band Director Jim Davison watched .Good Morning America. on September 6, there was a heaviness in his heart. .My God, they lost everything,. he thought as he saw the piles of bricks and twisted steel that was once the public high school at Pass Christian, Mississippi. The whole school was flattened. The immediate need was obviously to rebuild their lives, their homes and their school.
When the high school music teachers discussed the devastation, it was agreed that they could help these kids, once the school was rebuilt, in the area of music. "We thought that we could make a difference there. we could help the music students keep the music alive." Within a few days the .Pass Music Project. (PMP) was established to benefit the seaside community that lies between Biloxi MS and New Orleans. Pass Christian (the town is named after the two brothers who founded it) is similar to Rockport in the size of its public high school band (80 members in all) and its nature as a tourist town. Everything in the school was lost, including all of their musical instruments. Actually, most buildings in downtown Pass Christian were demolished, including four of the five public schools, the town hall, the police station, and the post office. Seventy percent of the students. families had lost their homes. "The town looked like a bomb had hit it," Davison said. For a satellite view of the devastation, visit www.pcyc-gya.org
For several years the Rockport students have raised money to support the rapid growth of their local music department. Almost half of the middle school students and a more than a third of the high school students participate in band or chorus. The immediate thought was "Now we have to help them. they have nothing!"
The fifty miles of coastline from Biloxi to New Orleans was the birthplace of much of American music. The roots of all popular music had their origins right there. the blues, Dixieland jazz, ragtime and Zydeco. Pass Christian is in the center of that musically fertile region. "Of all places, we've got to keep the music alive," Davison said.
The immediate response of the students and music teachers of Rockport was to raise the funds to supply instruments, and musical arrangements to the music students of Pass Christian. Rockport senior music student, Olivia Hauck, already organized on her own a student-run concert on September 10 that featured students and alumni of Rockport High School that raised $1,100. There are other concerts and events throughout the year to benefit the Mississippi Music Project, asking people to donate instruments as well as money to purchase instruments.
To start things off, the Mississippi Music Project is planning a two-day jazz fest to be held the weekend of October 1 and 2, featuring High School Jazz combos and bands, and the Mike Tucker band, and others.
The first event will be a .Mardi Gras in October. party held Saturday, October 1, from 8:30-11:30 PM, at the Gloucester House Restaurant on Rogers Street in Gloucester, featuring the Frank Stadler and the Seaside Stompers, with other bands to be announced. The celebration features live jazz and blues, dancing, food and a cash bar. Costumes are encouraged. Tickets are $12
A Sunday morning Jazz Breakfast will take place at Brackett.s Restaurant on Main Street in Rockport on October 2, from 8:30-11:30AM, featuring two Rockport High Jazz combos, followed by the Mike Tucker Quartet
Tickets are $12. Brackett.s home-made beignets, a New Orleans tradition, will make their debut on their regular menu that morning.
All proceeds from both events will go towards the .Pass Music. program, dedicated solely to purchase of music for the Pass Christian Public High School Music Department. All donations, in cash or in kind -- are tax deductible. Checks may be written to Rockport Rotary, and specify .Pass Music. in the comments section of the check. Checks may be mailed to P.O. Box 54, Rockport, MA 01966.
Posted on Thu, Oct. 06, 2005
Massachusetts towns help out Pass bands
By TRACY DASH
Mardi Gras and beignets usually are not a part of the culture in the Massachusetts seaside towns of Rockport and Gloucester, but Southern food and music were the highlights of two weekend fund-raisers for the Pass Christian High School band program.
People who never met the 80 band students donated at least eight instruments, including a trombone owned by a young Frenchman who attends Berklee College of Music in Boston.
Rockport High School band teacher Jim Davison and the mother of one of his students saw the Hurricane Katrina devastation on television and decided to help.
"It seems like there is a music-to-music bond," said Laura Fillmore Evans, the mother of a band student and an organizer of the benefit.
She said the community also has collected $5,000 from the weekend's events and two others held last month. The money will be used to purchase more instruments and replace other equipment and uniforms destroyed when the storm flooded the band hall Aug. 29.
"We've got reeds, sheet music, stands, two flutes, two trombones, a clarinet, two trumpets and a drum set," Evans said.
Pass Christian is scheduled to open schools on Oct. 17.
Evans said the Frenchman told her the story of where he "met" his instrument. The man, Benjamin De Roubaise, said he traded his computer for the trombone, which was owned by another Frenchman who got it in Morocco.
"He said he could think of nothing better than some teenage kid playing that horn," Evans said.
On Saturday, those who attended the benefit at the Gloucester House Restaurant dressed in Mardi Gras costumes. Rockport's freshmen and high-school jazz combos were among the bands performing that night.
The fund-raiser on Sunday was held at Brackett's Restaurant in nearby Rockport. Restaurant owner Charlie Brackett, cooked eggs, sausage and beignets for a jazz brunch.